WHO Draft Tobacco Treaty Demands Ad Ban

23 July 2002

The World Health Organization is calling on its 191 member nations to ban cigarette advertising and tobacco sponsorship of sports in a draft version of a much-debated international pact.

Designed to reflect progress in recent negotiations, the text was drawn up by Luis Felipe de Seixas Correa, chair of the committee putting together the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It is the first full draft of the FCTC written so far.

It is proposed that states which sign up to the treaty introduce legislation “for preventing and reducing tobacco consumption, nicotine addiction and exposure to tobacco smoke.”

The draft pact calls on member nations to phase out and eventually prohibit all tobacco promotion. Specific measures signatory states should adopt include:

• Preventing deceptive or misleading tobacco advertising.

• Banning tobacco sponsorship of sporting or cultural events.

• Restricting cross-border tobacco advertising, such as on cable/satellite TV and the internet.

• Demanding public disclosure of all adspend by tobacco firms.

• Limiting all forms of tobacco promotion aimed at vulnerable groups.

• Banning phrases such as ‘low-tar’ and ‘mild’ which suggest reduced health risk.

However, anti-smoking groups attacked the draft as too weak, not least because no time limits to impose the ad restrictions were put forward.

The US and Japan are opposed to an outright ban on advertising, though the European Union (except Germany) and several African nations support global ad restrictions.

The draft will be discussed by WHO member states in October, with adoption of the final FCTC by the World Health Assembly expected in May 2003.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff